Subject-object dichotomy

I recently became aware of a very strange argument used by the feminists, about a so-called “subject-object dichotomy”, where “subject acts, and object is acted upon”, and women are supposedly seen by elements of society as playing the role of an object, where they are acted upon without much sensible interaction or even consent.

I must admit it’s one of the stupidest things I’ve heard lately, and I heard so many stupid things I’m drowning in them.

You see, the implication is that women need to be an important factor whose consent is required in all things that concern them, and whose opinion and judgment is a cornerstone of every decision. They are not. Most people, most of the time, are objects. Furthermore, they are background noise. They are irrelevant, they get in the way and we don’t give one third of a fuck about them. When I take a bus I don’t want to interact with other passengers. I don’t want to see them as persons with whom I would have meaningful interactions. I don’t even want them to be there in the first place. I just want them to mind their fucking business enough so that I can pretend they aren’t there, so that I can get where I’m going while knowing as little as possible about them as persons. To me, they are not the reason why I’m in the bus, they are the undesired side-effect of public transportation. The reason why I’m in the bus is that I need to go from A to B while my car is being serviced. This type of ignoring others can be an act of kindness, because reducing interaction in a crowded space where interaction is not desired is actually a way to show respect and to be polite. It’s the same thing as not talking loudly in a plane, where people can’t get away from the noise you produce and would even want to sleep, pretending you don’t exist, as difficult as that might be.

So basically, when you have a video game with non-playable characters, or a movie with background casts of passers-by, taxi drivers or people who sell newspapers to the main character, their unimportance isn’t a big philosophical issue of them being reduced to objects; it’s merely an accurate portrayal of the basic fact of urban life, which is that you are constantly surrounded by unimportant people you don’t give a fuck about and who live an existence that is completely parallel to yours. It doesn’t matter whether they are men or women, businessmen or beggars. You just want to be left alone in order to be able to live your life without constant dispersal of attention and energy into things that do not really concern you. So that’s one thing – for most people, you’re not a person. You are background noise they try very hard to ignore because they are trying to live their lives.

The second aspect is context which gives an interaction its ethical value. Sometimes treating someone like an object is bad, sometimes it is neutral and sometimes it is good. If someone you talk to acts condescendingly towards you, ignores your opinions with a dismissive attitude, addresses your opinions while talking to someone else as if you don’t exist, it’s a real problem. That’s where being treated like a non-person, or a non-subject, really matters and where it’s something that is ethically and morally wrong. Sometimes, as in cases where a criminal rapes and kills a random victim whom he sees as a drop-in replacement for someone he really has a problem with, and not as an independent real person, this can be purely evil. However, in most cases, as in our previous example of politely ignoring the other people on the street or in public transportation, it can be neutral or even positive. In some cases, for instance a firefighter responding to a call and saving a family from a building, it can be a really great thing – you don’t want to feel profound personal obligation and gratitude towards a firefighter who saved yours and your family’s lives, you really want him to treat this event as business as usual, where you and your family are merely objects of his daily work, like a cat stuck on a tree or needing to pump water out of someone’s basement. The feminists can bitch all they want about not wanting women to be portrayed as “damsels in distress”, but honestly, they really do. They really, really want society to feel an automatic reflex of helping women in distress, because when someone starts unzipping his pants to rape you, and you scream for help, you really want the accidental passer-by to see you as an object, as a damsel in distress, and to react instinctively to protect you, whether by beating the wannabe rapist up, or by calling the police and then beating him up. You don’t want him to have a meaningful interaction with you as a person, you just need immediate and concrete help in your generic situation which is covered by the “damsel in distress” social clause, requiring accidental passers-by and casual bystanders to actually do something constructive without any reward, any personal reason and any personal interaction.

You don’t like being an object in someone else’s world? Well better get used to it, because that’s exactly what you are. You are not important, you are not empowered, you are not the reason why other people are on the street. You are mostly ignored, sometimes you are acted upon, and sometimes you act, but if you think you’ll ever get to be the important factor in every possible interaction, you desperately need to have your ego checked before your nose starts interfering with air traffic. And be fucking thankful for the “damsel in distress trope” because that’s the society’s way of reiterating the need for accidental bystanders to help you when you have a heart attack on the street, or when someone wants to fuck you against your will while holding a knife at your throat while you cry for somebody, anybody to help you. Not to have a meaningful interaction with you as a person because he admires and respects your personality, but because you are a damsel in distress and he is expected to help those.

And if you think only women are portrayed as objects in movies and games, you’re out of your fucking mind, because you obviously didn’t play the latest Tomb Raider where Lara Croft kills unimportant men as easily and as trivially as she kills deer for food, and you didn’t see the movies from the Marvel universe where the Black Widow routinely, trivially and callously dispatches dozens of men with the trivial ease one would feel while brushing his teeth in the morning while thinking about what shirt to wear.

And if you actually watched all that and didn’t see a problem with it, then fuck you, because you are a pompous, callous idiot. Go have a meaningful interaction with a surgeon while being operated on, instead of being anaesthetized and treated as a mere object.

About lions and parasites

I came to a rather startling conclusion about the feminists, based on the presented evidence.

They hate women. They really, really hate women. They hate what women are, they hate what women do, but they deeply envy men and what they do, and basically they want everybody to be like men and nobody to be like women.

But let me explain, preferably from the beginning. In the beginning, if there is such a thing, you had a tribe of apes who walked upright, used tools and fire, and communicated mostly by spoken language. They either hunted or scavenged. They were hunted by the predators, and their existence was precarious at best. There was much that could keep you alive, and even more that could kill you.

When they were young, men and women hunted and scavenged together, because there wasn’t much of a difference between them. The female was slightly weaker but that mattered little, since the hominids were weaker than anything else around – either the predators or the prey. They didn’t manage to hunt an antelope because they were faster or stronger, or fight a leopard because they were stronger. They did those things because they were smarter, and they used spears, clubs and fire. The difference in strength mattered in interspecies conflicts, but since the men were protective with the females, the females didn’t feel an evolutionary pressure to develop physical strength. The men, however, merrily beat the shit out of each other and worked in dangerous environments, and the weaker ones didn’t survive long enough to reproduce.

So, the man and the woman who hunted and scavenged together got to like each other very much, and celebrated their successes by having sex, and since it was their favorite activity, the woman soon got pregnant. At one point, it started to get in the way of her activities and she had to stay at home, in the security of the cave or a kraal, whatever they had, and the man, who loved his friend and felt protective of her, now had to provide food for both of them. Other women kept her company during late pregnancy, childbirth and nursing, while the men formed a hunting party. Essentially, they organized themselves in a way that was mutually beneficial and had the best chance of keeping them alive. The roles were gradually genetically set, since the ones who didn’t abide by the laws of maximum efficiency had the least chance of surviving and reproducing. The fact that women gravitated toward the sheltered space in which children wouldn’t be eaten by the predators meant that they could do all the work that had to be done around the settlement – process meat, cure skins, manufacture tools, get wood for the fire, fix the roof etc., while the men, freed from the need to do the domestic chores, could go on longer hunting parties, farther away from home, and develop more complex hunting strategies. The women were grateful to the men for getting all the food and keeping them safe, while the men were grateful to the women for caring for them when they came back home almost dead with exhaustion. The two genders respected each other and cared for each other, each understanding that they couldn’t possibly survive and function without the help of the other. If you asked the women what they think about the men, they would say that the men are great – they hunt and provide, they protect, they make them feel safe and happy, basically the men are the best thing in the world. If you asked the men what they think about the women, they would say that the women are wonderful – they are beautiful and gentle and soft and lovable and fun, they take care of the home, they make you food and medicine when you’re hungry or injured, and they make you feel needed and loved which makes it possible to survive the terrible ordeals of life. Without women, you’d have nothing to go home to, and life wouldn’t really be worth living.

If you asked women how they feel about the difference between the work they do and the work men do, and if they envy men, they’d look at you as if you were crazy, because it was only day before yesterday that a lion attacked the kraal, and the men who protected the settlement fought him away with spears, and it was terribly scary. The lion was huge and angry and fast, but the men fought it away. She remembers how scared she was, how scared everybody was, and how heavily strained the men were after that, how close it was to somebody dying. She remembers how thankful she was for those three brave men with spears, who risked their lives so that she and her girlfriends and children would be safe. The least she could do was comfort the men by praising them, giving them something nice to eat and drink and be happy with them that everybody is alive. Envy men? She would piss herself with fear if she had to stand in front of that huge lion with a sharp stick. Thank all the gods that there are men who love women and protect them from that. Also, recently one of the men died. The hunters followed a herd of antelopes and a rhinoceros suddenly attacked them. One of the men was gored and trampled by the huge beast. The other men brought him to the kraal, but he died in great agony before the end of the day. It was terrible to watch; that man was a friend, he was kind and brave and now he is dead. Envy the men? How fucking stupid are you? I get to stay in safety, doing the things that can be hard and tiresome, but also rewarding and safe – I get to make useful things, I keep the fire going, make tools and clothes and food. I get to teach my children how to do things and talk to them. Everything I do is useful and rewarding and I am happy to be able to do it. I wish I could help men more. I am always tired at the end of the day, but I am never as tired as the hunters when they return from the hunting expedition. They look completely exhausted and some of them have a dead look in their eyes which takes days to go away, as if they have seen terrible things and their spirit is still frozen in the place of that fear. I think how I felt when that huge lion came, and I think about all the other horrors the men experienced out there, and what could possibly make a man, who faced a lion with nothing but a sharp stick, have his spirit frozen in such a way. Men are good and brave, but we need to care for them so that they can recover from the horrors and hardships, because they are our shield and our spear that protects us from the lions of the world.

Now cue in the feminists. Oh, the men have all the fun in the world, they get to fuck around with other guys while the women do all the hard and unrewarding work just so that the men could have their free room service. What men do is real life, that’s what emancipates you and makes you a proper human being, that’s what gives you glory and achievement, while being a woman is worthless, it’s simply being a slave, a servant to men.

As I said, I came to a startling conclusion about the feminists.

They hate women. They really, really hate women. They hate what women are, they hate what women do, but they deeply envy men and what they do, and basically they want everybody to be like men and nobody to be like women. The feminists are women’s worst enemy, because they don’t want there to be any women, only men with vaginas. The men, however, have always, throughout history, been women’s best friends, lovers and protectors. The man is the one who will stand between a woman and a leopard, armed with a club, and tell a woman how wonderful she is and how much he appreciates her. A feminist is the one who will stand between a woman and a man, armed with her poisonous tongue, and tell woman how worthless she is compared to a man, and how she needs to compete with the man and tell him how she doesn’t need him anymore.

In our modern society, we no longer have lions and leopards as dangerous predators. But we do have the feminists and the social justice warriors, and that’s not a change for the better, because the insidious parasites can often do more damage.

Difference between manginas and alpha-males

There’s that thing I keep running into: the concept of “alpha male” and what it means… and I kinda have a problem with it. I think it’s mostly bullshit.

The concept entered human psychology from observations of captive wolves’ behavior, where a pack is supposedly divided into the leading pair, the alpha-male and alpha-female, who are the only reproductive pair in the pack, and the subordinate wolves who are growled and bitten into submission.

Later, it turned out that in nature, the alpha pair are the parents of all the other wolves in the pack. The reproductive ban serves to prohibit incest and the parents keep the kids in line in order to be effective hunters and to prevent all kinds of bullshit. It has nothing to do with any kind of a hierarchical organization of a pack by differentiating between the supposed leaders and the supposed followers, or supposedly strong and the supposedly weak. And it is completely unrelated to any kind of social dynamics within human communities which consist of genetically unrelated individuals.

This, however, points to the true problem: once a quasi-scientific factoid enters the noosphere (you can call it mindspace), you just can’t get rid of it anymore. We still have the “facts” that spinach contains a shitload of iron, that Neanderthals were retarded brutes with clubs, that women were oppressed by men throughout history, or that there’s enough food and other resources for everyone if just the rich didn’t hold it all to themselves.

The alpha-male theory is particularly interesting since it’s complete and utter bullshit without any foundation in either facts or reality, something akin to astrology and people identifying themselves as pisces, leones, librae or fucking unicorns for that matter. The only way you can say you’re an alpha male is if you’re a father of the family in a strictly monogamous relationship with your wife, the alpha-female, and you don’t fuck your daughters, nor do your sons fuck their mother, and children aren’t allowed to be disobedient to their parents or eat before they do. That would make an equivalent wolf-pack with an alpha-pair. Other than that, if you talk about alpha-males this or that, you’re just ignorant.

But this ignorance is not random, it’s actually quite structured: an alpha-male is supposedly an aggressive leader who fights all the contenders into submission on the slightest sign of dissent, and it’s always “my way or the highway”. People imagine it as some sort of a cult where the guru fucks all the females and the only way up in the community is through constant sucking up to the leader, or his favorite females. On superficial examination, such communities appear to exist. In reality… it’s all bullshit. But this statement requires explanation.

Interestingly, one of the best literary descriptions of male leaders is the Children of the Earth series by Jean Auel, in which social dynamics within primitive human communities is so well explained, I actually think it maps completely onto reality without any discrepancies I could notice, and I actually read the entire series several times.

The examples of the male leaders are Brun of the Brun clan, Talut of the Lion camp of the Mamutoi, Dolando of the Sharamudoi and Joharran of the ninth cave of the Zelandonii. I will briefly describe the characters in order for you to get the general idea, but do look into it.

Brun is the headman of a Neanderthal clan. By social arrangement, every member of the clan is subordinate to the leader and obeys him immediately and without question. The only exceptions are the Mog-ur, the clan’s shaman, who communicates with the spirit world and whose opinion can override the leader’s, and the medicine woman, who has authority over healing and health issues in the clan. Brun is strong and proud, but very thoughtful, considerate and just. He weighs every decision carefully in order to account for the well-being of every member of the clan. If people are content, he is doing a good job. If there is discontent, something needs to be done about it, and quickly. He is acutely aware of the possible frictions between clan members, and works to minimize them. Basically, his power is almost absolute, but his responsibilities are equally so, and he is personally distressed if he thinks his clan is in any kind of danger or difficulty that he could do anything about. Essentially, obedience of others is, to Brun, only a tool he needs in order to be able to do his job of protecting and caring for his clan. He never abuses the trust or uses it for any kind of a selfish goal, and he is therefore seen as an ideal leader within his entire species. The main antagonist of the series is his son, Broud, who is a power hungry egomaniac, who wants power in order to exalt himself above the others and in order to be able to humiliate others and destroy the ones he hates. He is petty, vindictive and vile, and after he succeeds his father, he leads the clan to its ruin. From this description, it is obvious what Jean Auel thinks about the qualities of a good leader, and also about the perils of genetic succession; you can have a great king who is brave, just and strong, but if he is succeeded by a son who is an egomaniacal lunatic, the entire society will be destroyed. But essentially, the problem with the alpha-male construct is that it matches Broud more than it does Brun. Brun looks like a totalitarian leader at the first glance, but he really isn’t, because his power is held in very tight balance by his consideration and care for the well-being of his clan and each of its members. He explicitly says that a leader has less freedom than a woman (who is expected to obey all men unconditionally) – he is expected to completely ignore himself and dedicate himself completely to the common good. Basically, the leader is the servant of all. When a leader doesn’t understand that, as Broud doesn’t, it dooms everybody.

Talut, the headman of the Lion camp of the Mamutoi, is a Cro-Magnon human; he’s a huge mountain of a man, something like Arvidas Sabonis, but extremely kind, gentle and good-humored. In his community, he rules by consent of his tribe, and he allows everyone to speak his or her mind freely, and then makes a decision that accounts for everyone’s needs and well-being. He prides himself for having the most diverse camp among all the Mamutoi, including all kinds of eccentrics and best-ofs, such as the oldest and wisest shaman, the best carver, best flint knapper etc. He is proud of his great strength and uses it when hunting, but otherwise he would never consider harming anyone. He is enraged only at injustice and is otherwise gentle, kind and funny. Like Brun, he rules in such a reasonable and beneficial manner, his tribesmen would never even consider replacing him as a leader for as long as he considers himself physically fit enough to proceed in his role.

He doesn’t fuck all the females. He doesn’t fight with other men for supremacy. He doesn’t use his physical strength to submit others. He actually doesn’t even argue much and rather lets the others voice their opinions and then decides after careful deliberation, and his power isn’t even contested, not because it couldn’t be, but because other people understand how lucky they are to have a wise and calm arbiter to lead them and handle disputes between them, which could otherwise get out of hand. Essentially, the ideal leader of a human community has no resemblance to the alpha-male construct, where other men follow the leader because they are cowed into submission. No, actually men rarely want to lead others because they usually have other things to do; the one who leads is not the one who beats the shit out of everyone, but the one who is most likely to be reasonable and even-handed in resolving disputes, is just and just steers the ship calmly and without disturbances; essentially, the best leader is the one whose presence you don’t feel, because he doesn’t try to prove himself, or have battles of will against the others. And when you see a man who tries project himself as dominant and assertive, it’s probably the lowest ranked man within a community. The highest, most powerful man in the community will try to project kindness, justice and goodwill. He will lead by good example and will feel an imperative to take care of the best interests of his community.

Basically, the strongest, most powerful leader of a human community would be described as a “mangina” by the supposedly macho-male men activists. Something to consider…

About bits and pixels

I’ve just been looking at the pixels on my 13″ Mac Air and thinking how nice would that retina display be, and then I thought: when I got my first computer, 320×200 was considered high resolution, and that was on a TV set. You know, this kind of stuff:

Today’s equivalent? Something like this:

The crazy thing is not what we had, but what we thought people will have in the 24-th century, in the Star Trek next generation, DS9 and Voyager; basically, the LCARS operating system is a touch operated thing that looks very much like iOS, Android and Windows 8, and the only places where we lag behind are the voice recognition systems and strength of the AI.

Just take a look at the LCARS operated PADD device:

In the 1990s, we thought people would have that in the 24th century, and most reactions were “no way you can make a powerful computer that thin”. Today we have this:

I don’t know about you, but from where I’m standing, our today’s stuff is better. But we need to have one important thing in mind: when the Star Trek designers invented the LCARS touch interface, contemporary computers looked like this:

Remember, the IBM PC compatibles were still running MS DOS, because Windows 3 wasn’t yet out, and the best desktop machine of the time was Apple Mac II, which had stuff that Win 3.0 yet had to release to the wider PC market – 24-bit color, for instance.

My first computer was a Commodore 64 with a 1540 floppy drive, a daisywheel printer and a B&W TV set adapted to serve as a monitor – it looked something like this:

What could it do? Well, you could play games, and my father actually used it as a word processor; it could work with documents ten or so pages long, which was much better than a typewriter, in that you could correct the text without retyping it.

I soon saved enough money to buy my own:

It was a BASIC-programmable pocket computer that could double as a scientific calculator. The main limitation was that I didn’t have a storage device for programs and the single 24-character line was a serious limitation. The funny thing is, the difference between the computers I had and the computers I was drooling over but couldn’t afford at the time, was negligible. I wanted Apple IIe and had Commodore 64, I wanted HP 71b and had Sharp 1403 – but they were all more-less the same, which means they could do next to nothing.

Today’s stuff is so advanced, that in the 1980s I could imagine stuff like that, but I could imagine the aliens having it. That I could sit outside and write this article on a wireless laptop more powerful than all the supercomputers of the 1980s, more powerful than most SciFi computers imagined at the time, and for it to be visible to everybody who is interested, the second I press “publish”… that would be just too much. But that’s where we are:

And here I am, complaining about the screen resolution on that computer, because I can actually see the pixels.  🙂